Sanjay Parasher - Owner | Fandango Cafe

My Story


I've always dreamed about starting a business of my own. Since arriving in Australia from India over ten years ago, it’s all I could think about. Every single night at my job as a pizza chef, I imagined what it would be like.

Even though I loved my job, I couldn’t wait to one day have the freedom to support my family while also following my biggest dream. The idea consumed me.

Finally, after nine years of service, I quit my job. It was time... I leapt on the opportunity to take ownership of Fandango cafe in March this year. Those first two weeks were amazing. Everything was new, exciting and terrifying at the same time.

More than anything, I felt anxious about having my own business and the newness of management. Thankfully, I have a fantastic team of staff who encourage me every day and help to build up my confidence. Their input has been invaluable, I couldn’t have transitioned into this leadership role without them. Hopefully, I'm creating a space for my staff where it feels like they own a piece of the business alongside me.

Everything was great and happy, it seemed to be going so well! I thought: “This was such an amazing decision!”

Unfortunately, we all know what happens next. COVID-19.

Even though businesses and cafes were closing all around us, we decided to remain open. I had the feeling that if I closed, I’d never open again. So hey, why not try to stay alive?

Dealing with this pandemic as a new business owner has been very difficult... but also fantastic. On one side, it’s bad because we haven’t made any money, but on the other hand, I’ve been given a crash course in business basics. The learning I’ve acquired during this terrible time will only make me stronger, I’m convinced.

What’s the one most significant thing you’ve learnt?

Planning. Absolutely, planning. Every single day we’re thinking about how to continually attract new customers and change things up, and we’re all trying together. I’ve never really been much of a planner before, but it’s become so impactful.

Even though it’s been tough, I still feel happy. My work-life balance has never been better. For nearly ten years, I sacrificed time with my wife and kids to earn a living. I’m glad that I can now watch them grow up and have the freedom I always dreamed of.